Plan for New Holland Island by WorkAC

Roman Abramovich’s new art museum to include giant outdoor hot tub

Architect’s video reveals plans for new art metropolis on St Petersburg island

The architecture practice building an ‘art island’ in St Petersburg for Roman Abramovich has released a video of the scheme that won it the competition.

Last month Abramovich chose New York architects WORKac to begin construction on the island, a former military base that is being transformed by the businessman and his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova into a metropolis for new art in the city.

Dasha’s Iris Foundation will be opening Iris New Holland, an outpost of her Moscow arts space, The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture. Abramovich’s Millhouse LLC investment company is ploughing $400 million into the revitalisation of the triangular island (known as New Holland due to its resemblance the Dutch city of Amsterdam). WORKac’s proposals include an education centre, exhibition halls, a hotel and a giant outdoor hot tub. 


Peter the Great originally built New Holland as a storage facility and military prison in the early 18th century. A previous design in 2006 by Norman Foster was deemed ‘too modern’ for the historic site. Under the new plans, the disused warehouses will be connected by an elevated promenade styled on New York’s Highline. The idea is that the island will resemble a cool inner city neighbourhood such as Hoxton, Vesterbro or Williamsburg.

“If everything works out, St Petersburg will become a centre of contemporary culture and art,” Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, told the Moscow Times. 

In addition to the galleries and museums the island will also feature new housing and office developments and two new bridges connecting it to the mainland. Abramovic will run the island for seven years before it reverts to the city council.